This is a new author for me. And I am not sure if that is good or bad. I had expectations based on the description that totally weren’t met. I am starting to wonder if the people who write the little snippets have even read the books they write them for. I know the idea is to get people to read the book, but personally, I am starting to get annoyed by how often they are just flat out wrong or misleading.
We are teased by the snippet here: “Suddenly, Alison discovers that the world is wrong about her—and that she’s capable of far more than anyone else would believe.” So… I am waiting for Alison’s capabilities. And, even after finishing the book, I was still waiting. The part in the synopsis about her having killed a girl is misleading too – but it’s an acceptable misdirection (I won’t spoil, so I won’t say more than that for the moment) given the way the rest of the book turns out. The primary problem is that this isn’t really a paranormal YA book, which is what the synopsis lead me to believe. I wish I had been thinking Sci/Fi instead of paranormal….
What is the story? Alison wakes up in a hospital, not sure what happened. She is immediately shipped off to a mental institution. And a girl is missing. Turns out, Alison thinks she killed the girl. She’s deemed a danger to herself and others and is kept an an involuntary patient. She meets a few other patients who each have their own varying levels of issues (from fire-starters to those with eating disorders and those who see alines). Some of which, aren’t such subtle foreshadowing of what’s to come. Anyway… Alison has to come to terms with what happened to try to get free of the institution and the doctor who is keeping here there. And suddenly, another “dr” shows up and he can explain why Alison has been different all her life. Except it’s nothing paranormal. Its a disorder having to do with the way her senses work and perceive things. Now… this does tie into something later, but the events and the solution to the big mystery as to whether Alison really killed Tori really don’t have a cause and effect relationship. We get the mystery solved in the end though, without any cliffhanger that would suggest another book. So…
As for the writing, it was ok. At first it was distracting to me. There were just way tooooooo many adjectives. Every sentences was so flowery and the descriptions of people and sounds and places was so heavy it bogged down the prose. I found myself rolling my eyes at the inclusion of colors in every sentence to describe every tiny little thing. When I realized that this had to do with Alison’s perception it alleviated my frustration a little. But not enough since it was still distracting. The relationship development also left me feeling unsatisfied. We see Alison interact with folks, but there isn’t much to it. This book really is more of the internal dialogue Alison has with herself, more about her own struggle, and less about the mystery around her. The sudden feelings for the mysterious foreign doctor are hard to believe because we are just told they spend a lot of time together. but short of the few conversations where we learn the name to Alison’s disorder we don’t see much of it. The book was unbalanced in that we get lots of sentences about what words taste like and how Alison can see the colors of people’s speech (etc.), but we get very little in the way of events and character interactions. Had that been more balanced, maybe I would have felt a little more invested in the other characters, and wouldn’t have felt like they were barely even necessary.
The pace of the book also left me a little frustrated. The first two-thirds felt like nothing happened. And it seemed to drag on. And then the end – happened way to fast. The end was almost too easy. After all the buzzing and perceptions and the hatred between Alison and Tori – and to suddenly find that so easy to get over, deal with, and then to have the mystery resolved so easy? It almost gave me whiplash.
I would be interested to see if the author does better with different subject matter. I saw promise in the story and the characters. I am just not sure things were planned or executed as well as they could have been.